Sexism started with Aristotle


Depiction of Artistotle, Philosopher from C. 384 BCE- C. 322 BCE

Despite being known as one of the greatest philosophers and scientists in history, Aristotle’s views towards women’s equality were misogynistic. Aristotle’s long-lasting influences did not just affect contemporary philosophies but promoted sexism in modern-day societies.


It is historically expected that many men in the B.C.E era opposed women’s equality. However, when B.C.E men, like Aristotle, were foundational philosophers that opposed women’s equality, they influenced the course of women’s equality for thousands of years following.

Aristotle expressed misogynistic views in political and philosophical works dating back to 350 B.C.E. In Aristotle’s work of political philosophy, Politics, he claims that there should be “political rule” of a husband over a wife. The greek philosopher states, “As regards the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject.” He compares the role of women in society to that of a slave, saying, “The slave is wholly lacking the deliberative element; the female has it, but it lacks authority; the child has it, but it is incomplete.”

Not only does Aristotle undermine women on a political basis, but also on a biological and scientific basis. According to Women’s, medical authorities dating back to B.C.E, such as Aristotle, claimed that too much study and sport activity would cause infertility in women.

Aristotle believed that women had a limited amount of energy flowing through the body and that monthly hormonal expenditure was naturally used up in dangerous quantities. Therefore, he promoted that women should not “exert” themselves through studying, or any sports activity, including leisurely bike riding.

Viewpoints like Aristotle’s lead to misconceptions that women were less qualified than men to receive an education and participate in sports. Despite this, claims that academics and sports cause infertility are almost entirely unfounded. One of the only proven links between sports activity and effects on women’s health is amenorrhea, which is not the same as infertility. Vigorous and extreme exercise can lead to amenorrhea, which, again, is not equivalent to infertility.

Women are fully capable of receiving an education and participating in sports, not only on a biological basis but on any basis. No study or biological proof exists that proves study and education leads to infertility.


Although Aristotle did not single-handedly create sexism in modern-day societies, he was an admired philosopher and scientist who had a substantial influence on western logic and reason, including women’s roles in society.

Women’s sports, as well as higher education levels, were frowned upon through the nineteenth century. Even former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 believed that America’s oldest white families were conspiring to commit “race suicide” by sending their next generation of daughters to college. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the blossoming of higher education for women started to accelerate worldwide, and women began to participate in sports.

Theories created 4,000 years ago by philosophers like Aristotle influenced long-lasting division between men and women and sexism that is still prominent today. Aristotle may be taught in schools as a great thinker in politics, psychology, and ethics, but he should not be known as a great thinker in the realm of women’s equality.